Vietnam does not import tainted frozen berries linked to hepatitis outbreak: official

By Hoang Phan, Thanh Nien News

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Fruits at a supermarket in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Diep Duc Minh Fruits at a supermarket in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Diep Duc Minh


Vietnam's Plant Protection Department has confirmed that the country does not import frozen berries from Patties Food, the Australian company that had to recall products packaged in China in a spreading hepatitis A scare.
The agency director, Nguyen Xuan Hong, said Wednesday that a review of frozen fruit imports found no shipment of any products linked to the recent outbreak, including Nanna’s Frozen Mixed Berries and Creative Gourmet Berries.
“We confirmed that Chinese-originated frozen fruit contaminated with hepatitis A has not been imported into Vietnam under our supervision,” he said.
According to Hong, Vietnam has only imported frozen fruit through Cat Lai Port in Ho Chi Minh City, with a total of 125 tons being brought into the country last year by four companies.
None of the products were from Patties Food, he said. 
He didn't mention whether tainted frozen fruit might enter Vietnam via unofficial channels. 
Australian health authorities have confirmed at least 18 cases of hepatitis A linked to frozen berries packaged in China and imported by Patties Foods.
Hepatitis A is a viral disease that affects the liver, causing abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and jaundice. It has an incubation period of up to 50 days.
Patties Foods has recalled four products including the Nanna's and Creative Gourmet brands of mixed berries and Nanna's raspberries after infections in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales, AFP reported.
The berries were grown in Chile and China before being packaged at a Chinese factory, according to the newswire.
Following the incident, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that the imported berries linked to hepatitis A cases will be subject to "100 percent testing at the border.”

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